Wearable gadgets are becoming increasingly popular, largely thanks to Google Glass, with more and more developers producing similar designs. But this new gadget is a lot more than a smart device or a VR headset. The meta 1 is an augmented reality device that allows users to interact with 3D virtual objects using their hands.

The device was create by Columbia University professors and graduate students and was inspired by computerized interfaces seen in movies such as Avatar or Iron Man. The meta 1 is described as the most affordable and advanced augmented reality interface that integrates customized hardware and is provided with a solid software development kit.

Meta 1: Most Advanced Augmented Reality Device

The gadget is based on what its developers say are some of the most advanced surface tracking algorithms that allow users to interact with virtual world objects in the real world. The dev-kit runs on Unity3D, allowing developers to tap into the SDK and create their own apps right away.

Its technical specifications are quite impressive: the device offers 960×540 resolution and a 23-degree view field for each eye. The webcam it is equipped with includes a camera for each eye, while the glasses themselves are provided with USB and HDMI inputs. And even if at a first glance it seems a bit uncomfortable to wear, the device actually weighs only 10 ounces.

According to its creators, the device is not intended just as an accessory to a gaming device or a phone, like the Oculus Rift or Google Glass. Meta 1 is meant to be a computer replacement in an era that already sees the first signs of the flat device becoming obsolete, its developers claim.

The project is still in development and is currently on Kickstarter, where it has almost reached its $100,000 goal, with about 25 days to go until the crowdfunding campaign ends. The creators say their device can have multiple uses, not only for gaming purposes, but also for architecture, design and any other area that relies on virtual reality environments. Meta 1 will cost about $750 and shipments are expected to start this September.

[Image via Kickstarter]